Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

2012 NCAA S&P+ RATINGS, DEFENSE

through games of 1/7/13

The S&P+ Ratings are a college football ratings system derived from the play-by-play data of all 800+ of a season's FBS college football games (and 140,000+ plays). There are three key components to the S&P+:

  • Success Rate: A common Football Outsiders tool used to measure efficiency by determining whether every play of a given game was successful or not. The terms of success in college football: 50 percent of necessary yardage on first down, 70 percent on second down, and 100 percent on third and fourth down.
  • EqPts Per Play (PPP): An explosiveness measure derived from determining the point value of every yard line (based on the expected number of points an offense could expect to score from that yard line) and, therefore, every play of a given game.
  • Drive Efficiency: As of February 2013, S&P+ also includes a drive-based aspect based on the field position a team creates and its average success at preventing the points expected based on that field position.
  • Opponent adjustments: Success Rate and PPP combine to form S&P, an OPS-like measure for football. Then each team's S&P output for a given category (Rushing/Passing on either Standard Downs or Passing Downs) is compared to the expected output based upon their opponents and their opponents' opponents. This is a schedule-based adjustment designed to reward tougher schedules and punish weaker ones.

The S&P+ figures used in the tables below only look at the plays that took place while a game was deemed competitive. Garbage-time plays and possessions have been filtered out of the calculations. The criteria for "garbage time" are as follows: a game is not within 28 points in the first quarter, 24 points in the second quarter, 21 points in the third quarter, or 16 points in the fourth quarter.

Passing Downs are defined as:

  • second down with 8 or more yards to go
  • third or fourth down with 5 or more yards to go

All other downs are Standard Downs.

Please note that in the split of rushing and passing S&P+, sacks are counted as passes, as in NFL data, and not runs as in official NCAA totals.

DNP stands for Difference in Net Points. This is a raw average of the points an defense allows on a given drive compared to the points it would be expected to score based on starting field position.

Use the menu above for pages that give more details on total and defensive S&P+, or our other college football ratings, the drive-based FEI.

Rk Offense Def.
S&P+
Play
Eff.
Rk Std.
Downs
S&P+
Rk Pass.
Downs
S&P+
Rk Rushing
S&P+
Rk Passing
S&P+
Rk Drive
Eff.
Rk DNP
Rk
1 Alabama 164.6 147.8 1 148.2 1 147.5 3 159.6 1 143.7 4 168.8 2 -1.933 2
2 Oregon 141.2 119.1 17 110.8 26 149.1 2 110.5 32 127.2 13 194.5 1 -2.083 1
3 Florida State 139.6 136.0 3 124.8 7 137.0 9 115.6 20 144.3 3 149.9 3 -1.852 3
4 Florida 140.5 135.2 4 136.6 3 141.0 4 139.3 3 138.5 5 144.2 6 -1.009 31
5 Michigan State 137.2 137.4 2 146.4 2 126.5 16 139.9 2 145.3 1 133.6 12 -0.696 47
6 South Carolina 127.8 122.4 12 124.2 8 127.5 15 122.5 12 130.2 10 142.8 7 -1.267 12
7 LSU 132.5 131.6 5 123.5 9 155.3 1 134.0 5 136.0 7 133.2 13 -0.841 37
8 Notre Dame 127.4 121.4 14 120.7 13 126.4 17 116.8 17 127.8 12 142.0 8 -1.337 10
9 Texas A&M 125.5 124.8 10 119.4 15 138.5 6 126.7 8 122.6 17 137.3 9 -1.494 4
10 Utah State 129.7 130.5 7 120.3 14 133.3 11 111.9 30 138.0 6 127.8 17 -1.455 5
11 Stanford 124.5 127.5 8 129.5 4 133.1 12 127.7 7 135.3 8 129.5 16 -0.695 48
12 Oklahoma State 122.6 110.5 28 101.6 58 137.5 8 112.9 26 112.6 27 146.3 4 -1.447 6
13 BYU 131.4 130.7 6 126.4 5 130.8 13 134.0 4 124.3 14 126.1 22 -1.317 11
14 Georgia 120.0 109.6 31 112.3 23 107.0 47 114.5 22 105.7 44 144.5 5 -1.405 9
15 Oklahoma 120.9 118.5 18 118.2 16 125.5 18 100.5 58 144.5 2 133.8 11 -0.832 38
16 Wisconsin 121.6 122.4 11 120.8 12 124.4 19 122.3 13 123.4 16 127.2 18 -0.753 44
17 Fresno State 125.1 122.0 13 117.4 18 121.1 23 113.9 24 128.4 11 126.3 20 -1.206 15
18 TCU 122.2 119.3 16 113.5 21 134.7 10 123.2 11 115.8 22 126.2 21 -0.870 36
19 Virginia Tech 119.7 126.9 9 121.3 11 138.8 5 120.1 15 134.1 9 118.6 31 -0.759 43
20 Nebraska 116.4 111.8 25 106.6 41 122.9 20 108.4 36 117.5 19 131.7 14 -1.048 28
Rk Offense Def.
S&P+
Play
Eff.
Rk Std.
Downs
S&P+
Rk Pass.
Downs
S&P+
Rk Rushing
S&P+
Rk Passing
S&P+
Rk Drive
Eff.
Rk DNP
Rk
21 Ole Miss 113.9 106.8 40 105.0 46 122.3 21 113.5 25 105.9 43 136.3 10 -1.048 27
22 Penn State 122.0 116.1 21 121.5 10 101.8 59 115.9 19 116.6 21 125.9 23 -1.040 29
23 Boise State 124.9 118.3 19 115.1 19 108.2 41 107.1 43 117.1 20 120.8 28 -1.240 13
24 Kansas State 115.7 109.1 35 111.6 25 112.2 31 110.4 33 113.6 25 129.6 15 -1.211 14
25 Ohio State 114.7 110.3 30 104.3 49 128.1 14 115.0 21 110.5 32 126.4 19 -1.174 17
26 Oregon State 114.5 112.1 24 102.5 56 137.8 7 112.7 27 112.1 29 122.9 27 -0.990 32
27 Tulsa 116.5 114.3 22 108.6 31 114.9 28 105.6 47 112.2 28 120.6 29 -1.123 19
28 Rutgers 122.2 117.9 20 117.9 17 109.1 36 127.8 6 106.2 41 115.7 34 -0.876 35
29 Michigan 113.7 107.3 38 107.4 34 107.2 45 116.3 18 102.0 54 125.9 24 -1.121 21
30 USC 111.1 106.4 43 109.4 29 104.6 52 106.2 45 112.8 26 125.1 26 -0.886 34
31 Missouri 111.9 109.2 34 109.9 27 121.5 22 120.7 14 109.3 36 116.5 33 +0.070 96
32 Texas 107.4 105.9 44 108.5 32 110.1 34 97.9 65 117.8 18 119.6 30 -0.743 45
33 San Jose State 112.0 110.5 29 104.0 51 117.2 27 104.8 48 109.6 35 112.5 37 -1.101 23
34 Clemson 107.6 96.9 74 96.0 80 92.1 86 101.0 55 88.9 95 125.7 25 -1.407 8
35 Iowa State 106.3 106.6 41 105.1 45 118.3 25 107.9 37 108.0 38 114.8 35 -0.142 81
36 Arizona State 111.3 112.6 23 111.7 24 109.7 35 101.6 54 124.2 15 108.6 42 -1.059 26
37 Georgia Tech 105.8 104.0 50 104.1 50 111.7 32 94.7 76 115.0 23 117.0 32 -1.089 24
38 Connecticut 112.2 119.8 15 125.5 6 104.6 51 124.3 10 111.5 30 100.4 65 -0.223 79
39 Northern Illinois 111.3 109.4 32 108.2 33 97.0 75 109.5 35 99.5 63 109.7 40 -1.441 7
40 UCLA 107.6 102.9 55 99.1 66 119.7 24 107.5 40 101.2 58 114.0 36 -0.551 59
Rk Offense Def.
S&P+
Play
Eff.
Rk Std.
Downs
S&P+
Rk Pass.
Downs
S&P+
Rk Rushing
S&P+
Rk Passing
S&P+
Rk Drive
Eff.
Rk DNP
Rk
41 Vanderbilt 108.1 108.3 36 104.7 47 108.2 42 96.6 70 113.8 24 108.6 42 -0.811 40
42 SMU 108.4 111.0 27 113.2 22 105.3 50 124.5 9 101.9 56 105.4 52 -0.520 63
43 Mississippi State 106.1 107.0 39 107.0 37 111.4 33 114.5 23 102.4 52 108.2 47 -0.564 57
44 Washington 107.0 107.6 37 109.8 28 106.6 48 107.5 42 110.1 34 107.6 49 -0.299 71
45 San Diego State 107.5 105.9 45 106.8 40 99.8 67 111.0 31 101.9 55 108.2 46 -1.122 20
46 Central Florida 106.8 104.6 47 103.0 54 97.4 74 97.7 67 104.3 48 108.5 44 -1.029 30
47 Kent State 108.7 104.1 49 101.1 59 101.3 61 107.5 41 96.0 70 108.7 41 -0.572 56
48 Arkansas State 105.4 100.5 62 103.0 53 89.8 91 107.0 44 92.1 87 112.3 38 -1.177 16
49 Bowling Green 108.3 111.6 26 104.6 48 107.8 43 102.3 51 110.2 33 98.4 70 -0.760 42
50 Northwestern 105.4 101.5 59 105.6 42 89.0 95 98.7 63 102.1 53 108.0 48 -0.642 50
51 Maryland 102.9 109.3 33 114.2 20 104.1 54 107.5 39 111.0 31 100.1 67 -0.264 75
52 Pittsburgh 102.1 104.4 48 96.6 74 108.8 38 94.8 75 105.3 46 104.7 53 -0.735 46
53 Texas Tech 101.4 101.0 61 99.6 63 108.2 40 101.9 52 100.6 59 106.7 51 -0.970 33
54 N.C. State 102.9 102.7 56 96.6 76 109.1 37 91.6 88 107.2 39 103.6 57 -0.605 53
55 West Virginia 98.8 94.1 87 103.1 52 82.8 107 105.8 46 87.5 100 112.1 39 -0.628 52
56 Arizona 99.3 99.0 67 105.3 44 90.9 88 100.3 59 101.3 57 106.8 50 -0.496 64
57 California 100.3 104.6 46 107.3 36 107.1 46 112.6 28 104.0 49 100.7 62 +0.159 101
58 Virginia 101.5 106.4 42 106.9 38 100.5 65 103.4 50 105.1 47 98.5 69 -0.196 80
59 Louisville 103.4 100.0 64 96.1 79 99.6 68 91.1 90 103.1 50 103.5 58 -1.120 22
60 Baylor 99.0 94.7 85 98.7 69 89.9 90 96.3 71 94.6 77 108.5 45 -0.652 49
Rk Offense Def.
S&P+
Play
Eff.
Rk Std.
Downs
S&P+
Rk Pass.
Downs
S&P+
Rk Rushing
S&P+
Rk Passing
S&P+
Rk Drive
Eff.
Rk DNP
Rk
61 Purdue 100.6 98.5 69 96.5 78 104.5 53 94.6 77 102.6 51 104.0 54 -0.378 69
62 Houston 101.7 102.0 58 102.6 55 95.3 79 92.5 84 106.0 42 100.4 65 -0.524 62
63 Arkansas 97.9 98.8 68 97.0 73 103.6 55 118.9 16 87.5 101 103.4 59 -0.039 87
64 Florida International 100.7 103.5 53 107.3 35 98.1 73 100.8 56 107.2 40 98.1 71 -0.226 78
65 Utah 100.8 103.5 54 100.5 60 106.6 49 110.0 34 94.3 79 97.6 75 -0.234 77
66 Syracuse 99.1 100.5 63 95.0 83 112.3 30 101.9 53 95.9 72 100.5 64 -0.563 58
67 Iowa 98.0 101.4 60 102.3 57 100.5 64 112.3 29 91.3 89 99.3 68 +0.083 97
68 Cincinnati 102.9 96.5 76 86.0 114 101.5 60 86.7 110 92.2 86 103.9 55 -1.084 25
69 Western Kentucky 101.5 103.8 51 99.5 64 107.7 44 103.7 49 99.8 61 96.4 80 -0.579 55
70 Minnesota 98.8 99.0 66 96.6 75 108.4 39 89.6 96 109.1 37 100.9 60 -0.263 76
71 South Florida 98.5 102.2 57 106.9 39 95.9 77 107.9 38 98.5 64 97.5 76 +0.029 92
72 Buffalo 97.3 103.7 52 100.0 61 103.0 57 98.6 64 98.0 65 92.7 85 -0.398 67
73 Kansas 94.8 95.6 80 92.5 90 118.1 26 100.1 61 97.3 68 100.8 61 +0.642 118
74 North Carolina 97.9 97.5 70 99.9 62 84.9 103 90.7 94 95.9 71 97.9 73 -1.130 18
75 Louisiana Tech 97.7 91.1 99 89.8 96 90.5 89 95.0 74 84.3 108 103.7 56 -0.827 39
76 Ball State 100.0 97.2 72 99.4 65 96.3 76 100.2 60 95.5 74 97.4 77 -0.075 85
77 Toledo 97.6 94.0 89 89.7 98 103.4 56 94.2 79 92.8 83 100.5 63 -0.292 72
78 Auburn 92.4 97.4 71 96.6 77 113.1 29 94.0 80 105.5 45 96.6 79 +0.591 116
79 Miami 95.3 95.1 81 94.6 85 100.7 63 93.1 82 97.9 66 97.9 73 -0.137 82
80 Boston College 93.3 96.6 75 108.9 30 77.8 117 99.2 62 95.3 76 95.7 81 +0.118 98
Rk Offense Def.
S&P+
Play
Eff.
Rk Std.
Downs
S&P+
Rk Pass.
Downs
S&P+
Rk Rushing
S&P+
Rk Passing
S&P+
Rk Drive
Eff.
Rk DNP
Rk
81 Tennessee 93.4 92.7 94 90.3 95 100.7 62 93.1 83 92.5 84 98.1 71 -0.388 68
82 UL-Monroe 96.4 96.4 78 105.5 43 78.7 114 96.8 69 95.5 75 93.6 83 -0.547 60
83 UL-Lafayette 94.8 93.6 91 87.4 107 95.5 78 89.8 95 88.7 96 95.7 81 -0.768 41
84 East Carolina 96.5 96.5 77 95.1 82 94.7 80 96.0 72 94.3 78 92.6 86 -0.309 70
85 Memphis 94.5 100.0 65 97.6 71 98.9 71 92.0 86 100.3 60 89.0 91 -0.053 86
86 Troy 95.4 96.2 79 94.0 87 100.0 66 97.0 68 95.6 73 92.2 88 -0.403 66
87 Washington State 92.0 94.9 82 97.2 72 89.2 94 100.5 57 89.4 94 93.0 84 -0.024 89
88 Illinois 90.5 90.9 101 90.3 94 92.9 85 88.2 102 91.9 88 96.7 78 +0.228 103
89 Kentucky 90.6 94.4 86 94.7 84 99.4 69 91.7 87 97.4 67 91.0 89 +0.526 115
90 Wake Forest 90.7 94.8 83 99.1 67 88.6 96 97.7 66 93.0 82 89.4 90 +0.451 114
91 Colorado State 91.1 97.1 73 97.8 70 91.5 87 88.6 101 99.7 62 85.9 101 +0.238 104
92 Nevada 92.3 94.0 88 98.9 68 81.0 110 94.3 78 90.3 91 88.2 93 -0.632 51
93 Western Michigan 91.1 92.7 93 89.2 101 83.7 106 93.5 81 83.5 109 88.8 92 -0.585 54
94 UTEP 88.7 89.1 109 84.9 117 98.1 72 84.6 114 88.1 97 92.3 87 +0.177 102
95 Florida Atlantic 89.7 93.8 90 93.5 88 94.2 81 91.2 89 93.3 81 85.6 102 +0.344 109
96 Rice 93.4 91.2 98 86.5 112 94.2 82 87.1 109 90.0 92 88.0 94 -0.284 73
97 Southern Miss 88.8 91.5 97 89.8 97 99.1 70 87.6 105 94.1 80 87.3 97 +0.663 119
98 Ohio 93.6 93.5 92 88.3 102 87.9 98 87.2 108 87.7 98 84.8 105 -0.487 65
99 Navy 89.6 89.6 107 88.0 105 88.1 97 83.2 118 89.9 93 87.8 95 +0.127 100
100 UAB 89.0 89.4 108 89.5 100 82.7 108 89.4 97 80.2 118 87.4 96 -0.037 88
Rk Offense Def.
S&P+
Play
Eff.
Rk Std.
Downs
S&P+
Rk Pass.
Downs
S&P+
Rk Rushing
S&P+
Rk Passing
S&P+
Rk Drive
Eff.
Rk DNP
Rk
101 Marshall 90.9 92.2 96 91.5 92 83.9 104 90.9 92 85.4 106 83.5 110 -0.530 61
102 Wyoming 88.2 89.8 106 94.1 86 80.5 112 92.5 85 86.6 104 85.4 103 +0.280 106
103 Texas State 89.5 90.9 100 91.9 91 89.3 93 87.3 107 92.3 85 84.0 106 +0.280 106
104 South Alabama 89.3 94.8 84 89.5 99 93.5 84 91.0 91 87.6 99 79.9 116 +0.049 95
105 UNLV 87.3 90.7 103 96.0 81 76.6 118 90.7 93 87.1 103 83.8 107 +0.043 94
106 Hawaii 89.6 92.5 95 88.2 103 101.9 58 89.2 98 90.8 90 82.0 113 +0.447 113
107 North Texas 87.0 90.8 102 86.5 111 93.9 83 80.5 119 97.0 69 83.6 109 +0.345 110
108 Tulane 85.6 85.9 113 85.6 116 81.7 109 84.7 113 81.5 114 86.7 100 +0.293 108
109 Idaho 86.1 86.9 112 87.2 108 87.2 100 88.0 104 87.4 102 85.0 104 +0.872 122
110 Air Force 87.6 90.7 104 92.7 89 78.0 116 96.0 73 76.4 122 81.0 115 -0.270 74
111 Middle Tennessee 87.7 90.2 105 86.9 109 87.7 99 87.3 106 86.3 105 81.5 114 +0.240 105
112 Duke 85.1 83.4 119 81.0 121 89.4 92 84.4 115 81.6 113 86.8 99 +0.021 91
113 Temple 85.6 83.0 120 82.6 120 78.1 115 76.4 123 82.8 111 87.2 98 +0.042 93
114 Indiana 84.6 85.6 114 87.6 106 73.9 120 88.0 103 77.9 121 83.0 111 +0.010 90
115 Eastern Michigan 84.3 85.2 115 85.8 115 80.6 111 83.6 116 84.5 107 82.4 112 +0.688 121
116 Akron 83.8 88.9 110 86.5 110 86.8 101 89.0 99 81.8 112 78.3 117 +0.119 99
117 Miami (Ohio) 85.3 82.5 121 83.8 119 76.1 119 79.6 120 81.0 116 83.7 108 +0.402 112
118 Central Michigan 84.8 88.0 111 84.4 118 83.8 105 86.1 111 80.8 117 76.1 121 -0.091 83
119 New Mexico State 79.0 84.8 116 90.4 93 70.9 122 83.3 117 83.3 110 76.9 120 +0.687 120
120 New Mexico 83.1 83.6 117 86.1 113 71.6 121 85.5 112 78.9 120 77.4 119 +0.400 111
121 Colorado 75.3 79.6 123 79.6 123 85.4 102 79.5 121 81.2 115 78.0 118 +1.061 123
122 Massachusetts 77.6 80.5 122 79.1 124 80.5 113 74.7 124 79.5 119 75.9 122 +1.125 124
123 UTSA 80.7 83.4 118 88.1 104 63.9 124 88.7 100 73.1 123 72.5 124 -0.076 84
124 Army 78.8 77.1 124 80.0 122 64.1 123 76.7 122 71.7 124 75.8 123 +0.611 117